The heat waves that have occurred in recent weeks have left hundreds dead around the world and show the ravages of climate change.
In recent weeks, various parts of the world have been engulfed in heat waves with temperatures never before recorded, a scenario that has become more common in previous years and that, according to experts, will not improve in the coming years. As a consequence, the summer time of the year has brought with it the death of thousands of people.
India is perhaps the country that is experiencing the most severe heat waves in the summer time of the year. Thousands of heat-related illnesses have been reported, more than 170 deaths and some areas have reached temperatures as high as 43.5° Celsius according to the India Meteorological Department. In the second most populous country in the world, this phenomenon represents a practically impossible challenge for the health service. The outlook is so dire that last Saturday, when the first summer rains hit the country, millions of people took to the streets to get drenched. These rains would mark the drop in temperature in the coming weeks.
Likewise, other Asian countries have raised alarms since April due to extreme temperatures. In the north of China, the highest temperatures in decades were reached, when they reached 40° Celsius , which led the authorities to issue a red alert ; the capital of Thailand, Bangkok, reached 42° Celsius and in places like Myanmar there were radical changes in temperatures throughout April and May, its highest temperature was 43° Celsius.
In Europe, temperatures have also been higher than usual, but with the arrival of July it seems that even stronger extreme heat waves than last year will arrive. In Spain, for example, the temperature is expected to exceed 38° Celsius in the northeast and the peninsular area, and 40° Celsius in the southwest, even reaching 45 degrees. On the other hand, in the Baltic areas, increases to 32° Celsius were recorded. Heat waves on the mainland are expected to increase, but it appears that these will not exceed two or three days of continuous duration.
For its part, Mexico is the Latin American country that presented the strongest heat waves, lasting 3 weeks in most of the country and ending on Thursday, June 22. The government of Mexico City managed to issue an orange alert because the temperature reached 33° Celsius. Likewise, the country’s authorities reported that the agricultural industry was strongly affected by the lack of rain.
The southern United States has also presented high temperatures that exceed 40 ° Celsius, which has led the authorities of different states to go on alert for excessive heat. In the North American country, heat waves would be accompanied by electrical storms and tornadoes. It would be, then, drastic changes at the meteorological level that would put human health and infrastructure at risk.
With climate change there is no going back
This global panorama shows that climate change is not a possibility, but a reality that we now have to face every day and that puts our health and lives at risk. Let us remember that last year there were 16,300 deaths related to high temperatures in Europe alone. Likewise, the report “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change” published last year, showed that more than 350,000 people die in the world due to the extreme heat waves that have occurred and increased since the beginning of this century.
For experts, heat waves will become more extreme and long lasting as the years go by. Thus, it is urgent that the areas that are most exposed to these temperature rises above 38° Celsius begin to have plans to prevent people from having to work outdoors during the hottest waves. Likewise, it is necessary to take measures such as re-treeing cities and developing an architecture that allows adaptation to extreme heat. The scientific community sees this as an alert for governments to put delaying the consequences that climate change already has and will continue to have as its main objective.